Saturday, July 27, 2013

Energy use and growth

The Economist:  ... US GDP growth per capita between 1986 and 2011 averaged 2.5%; energy use per capita fell 0.17% a year over the same period. The same effect appears elsewhere. The peak of energy use per person in Britain occurred in 1973; in Germany, it was 1979. Some of this, of course, is because the oil shock of the 1970s made us shift to more efficient cars and heating systems; more generally, the economy is dematerialising. You are reading this article online; these blogs are an additional service to the reader that were not available 20 years ago. Individual journalists are more productive in the sense that, as well as articles in the printed magazine, they blog, tweet and do podcasts - all of which require very little use of physical resources. As Mr Harford points out, New York is a pretty advanced city - but it uses much less energy per person than the US as a a whole, and indeed uses less than the average of any other state...

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